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Rationing is back – and Britain’s authoritarian greens are delighted

August 5, 2022

By Paul Homewood

There are two articles out this week, telling the real truth about the suicidal pursuit of Net Zero.

It is no coincidence they are both written by leading Brexiteers.

This one is from David Frost:




Reset the diary. A new crisis is incoming. We were all set for an energy crunch this autumn, with consumption going up, supplies falling, and chickens coming home to roost. But suddenly we have a water crisis first, a taster version of future problems, just to get us in the right mindset for a difficult winter.

Different utilities, different problems, but similar underlying factors. We already have water rationing, via the initial hosepipe bans, with every chance of it getting worse. Energy rationing in some form seems well-nigh certain and we will be extraordinarily lucky if we do not have an actual blackout here, or in the rest of Europe, over the next few months.

Why are we in this situation? I used to imagine that one of the benefits of living in an advanced country was that at least the basics worked. In the developing world you didn’t have reliable water or power. But in the West, when you turned on the taps, water always came out and the lights stayed on without you having to invest in a private generator.

That is changing. Worse, we aren’t trying to solve the problems, but are instead telling people to “cut back – maybe you don’t really need all that water (or electricity) anyway”. We are being asked to change our lifestyle to match the situation, not the other way round.

Yet mastering our environment to make us wealthier has been a fundamental Western attitude of mind for 200 years. If we don’t do it, we won’t be successful for much longer.

Take the water situation first. No one can blame Vladimir Putin for the hosepipe ban. The country is just as wet as it has ever been. Met Office data shows that there has been no significant change in rainfall levels since 1840 and indeed the past 30 years have been 10 per cent wetter than the previous 30.

It is true that there is now more rain in winter rather than summer and the south of England is drier. Whether or not this is the result of climate change caused by CO2 emissions, there is literally nothing we can do about it for the next few decades. Even the most radical conceivable climate policy in the UK, or even in Europe, is not going to alter it quickly.

So clearly we must adapt. That is going to cost. But the costs are perfectly manageable. The planned Anglian Water pipeline to move water from Lincolnshire to East Anglia, which is limping forward thanks to our painfully slow planning system, will cost about £500 million – small change for infrastructure projects. (It would buy us a couple of miles of HS2 or about 20 miles of dual carriageway.)

But larger-scale projects will be needed and not much is planned. Meanwhile, it is 30 years since we last built a reservoir and only 4 per cent of our water is transferred between water companies.

Another way of adapting is through desalination. We are, after all, surrounded by seawater. It is a very good way of avoiding further extraction of water from rivers. Yet the one plant we have, at Beckton in East London, has not been turned on and might never be. A further proposal, in Hampshire, is stuck thanks to green campaigners, who worry that it is too energy-intensive, and the opposition, typically, of the local Conservative MP.

So instead we take the easy way out – reduce demand. In the short run that means hosepipe bans, shorter showers, and so on. In the longer run, it is said, consumption per person must fall by a third or more.

I don’t agree with that. We have enough water. We need to invest in capturing it, storing it, and moving it around to where it is needed. That is what an advanced country does.

We see the same “learn to live with it” response in energy policy. Obviously, the short-run shock is heavily influenced by the Ukraine war. But the longer run policy is not. We have chosen to invest in forms of energy that are unreliable and simply cannot generate what we need, yet come at extraordinary cost. Indeed the UK’s grid capacity is actually falling despite all the new pressures on it.

This circle can only be squared by reducing demand – and, as you would expect, European final energy consumption has been falling for 20 years and UK electricity consumption is at 1970s levels. Some say these are good things. I say they are symptoms of an advanced society regressing in its ambitions.

Meanwhile, here in Britain, we have decided we don’t need gas storage capacity and we are funnelling LNG to the EU because we can’t store it ourselves. As the unbelievably complacent National Grid winter plan last week showed, we are now very reliant on the Europeans sending power back to us this autumn.

But EU members face the same problems that we do – in many cases worse.

We surely should have learnt from the EU’s vaccine export ban last year, and their attempt to commandeer jabs produced for the UK, that when the chips are down it is every country for itself. We simply can’t rely on power coming back through the interconnectors.

There is every possibility, as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has been pointing out, that people in this country will face power rationing – just as is already required in parts of Europe – so as to keep the lights on in Germany. That is going to be a hard sell. If we are to be asked by the EU to show such solidarity, a condition must surely be that they end their lawfare against us over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

My big worry is that it has got easier to tell people to “get used to it”. The Covid lockdowns showed that some people – the Establishment laptop class, not those who actually work at work – discovered that they could live a more restricted lifestyle. Some discovered they quite liked it. We must make sure that our leaders don’t think that’s possible again.

The right way forward is not telling people to do less with less. It is becoming a more productive society once again. Building infrastructure. Investing in nuclear and gas – the only power that can do the job. Mastering our environment.

The next Prime Minister can – and I’m sure will – get us back to it.

  1. August 5, 2022 9:02 pm

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 5, 2022 9:16 pm

    China is ceasing to pretend to cooperate on climate change after the Pelosi visit.
    You’d think that after recent events the west would be making rapid plans to severe all links. China is clearly completely untrustworthy and as deranged as Putin.
    Instead of worrying about the climate fraud we should be going hell for leather to restore cheap reliable energy independence and repatriate heavy industry and manufacturing, essentially we should be preparing for war.

    • bobn permalink
      August 6, 2022 12:31 am

      Hmm. Dont see your logic Grim. After Pelosi’s vainglorious grandstanding China have told the truth, that the Net zero climate rubbish is… rubbish. So they are going to ignore it. Well said and done them for being realists to the US/ UK fantasist global warming idiocy. China has just won new found respect from me for speaking science to western drivel.
      PS. Putin is probably the sanest politician in the world right now given all the western uk/us warmongering nutters should be in kindergarten if not an asylum.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        August 6, 2022 8:06 am

        The point is we need to be self sufficient. We have given Russia and China the ability to cut off our energy and economies, just like that.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 7, 2022 8:24 am

      So we are somehow going to mine all those elements we need for this “independence” how? And we are going to make ourselves much poorer by insisting we make everything why? Autarky is as nutty as Net Zero, with similar economic results. China has a very unpleasant government but they are not Putin. And their refusal to contemplate Net Zero makes them very sensible. Nor can trade be a sensible weapon as it disrupting it harms you as well.

  3. Mad Mike permalink
    August 5, 2022 9:16 pm

    I have great sympathy with the opinion stated here but Alarmists will see it as a selfish ramp.We need to get the Alarmists out of the way. How we do this is problematical and, apart from hammering away, I can’t think of a way. With the present lot in charge who have been living with man made CC and Net Zero for so long it would be difficult to dislodge this mindset.

    I’m writing this at 21.15 on a Friday night. How sad am I.

    • HotScot permalink
      August 5, 2022 11:13 pm

      It saves watching the BBC at 21:15.

      Joe Biden has done more to destroy the climate narrative in 18 months than sceptics have managed in 50 years.

      The whole thing is coming to a painful, grinding halt. It might not be obvious at the moment as the greens are fighting hard, but politics and finance policies take a few years to catch up to public opinion.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 6, 2022 1:10 am

        “Joe Biden has done more to destroy the climate narrative in 18 months than sceptics have managed in 50 years.”
        Aided and abetted by Vladimir Putin!

  4. Nick Dekker permalink
    August 5, 2022 10:02 pm

    So much for a Brexit Tory Govt, leaving everything to the private sector. So what would you have done? The sooner we get rid of this lot the better.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      August 5, 2022 10:46 pm

      You don’t remember when it was all left to the public sector, do you?
      I can assure you, it was worse!
      One of my most memorable scenes was riding through Manchester when the power strikes were on.
      No street lights, traffic lights, house lights, not another vehicle on the road but me and my trusty BSA A10, no pedestrians, the only thing I saw moving was a solitary cat.
      Apocalyptic or what!

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 5, 2022 10:46 pm

        And then there was British Rail…

      • mikewaite permalink
        August 6, 2022 8:49 am

        -And then there was British Rail…
        It was British Rail that convinced me that Thatcher would snatch electoral victory from the dead hands of Labour in 1979. Picture a London Bridge platform , swept free of any facilities by Southern Region , a March wind , full of icy rain and scores of early morning commuters seeking in vain for any information on where the trains were going . Picture also on the same platform a warm office crowded with BR men , tea drinking , fire on , gossiping away , reading the Mirror, telling customers to “eff off ” rather than give any help. I looked at the expressions on the faces of fellow travellors, and then I knew that Maggie would win.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 6, 2022 5:46 pm


      • Nick Dekker permalink
        August 6, 2022 7:56 pm

        Hi catweazle666. I was born in 1938. So I remember what it was like before everything was sold off. I had no complaints.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 6, 2022 8:08 pm

        “I had no complaints.”
        You can’t have used it very much then!

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        August 7, 2022 8:31 am

        No complaints? Weeks to get a telephone line in place, no innovation, high costs, endless strikes, 3 day weeks, no customer service, no investment, polluted rivers…

        Yes it was wonderful.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      August 6, 2022 12:02 am

      “… leaving everything to the private sector” is not how it should be done! The process, if not the detail, needs to be managed by the purchaser, which would be the Government.

      It is the Government’s responsibility to ensure requirements are defined, clearly, including penalties for poor quality and late delivery, with the help of potential contractors if need be. Also required is a Project Plan, a list of Risks, kept up-to-date, and a qualified Project Manager to keep abreast of the situation. And, of course, a decision to pick the best contractor for the job is needed, with reasons, to help with the inevitable ‘lessons learnt phase.

      There are no Engineers in the recent Cabinet, so I wonder if this is the problem: I do wonder whether there are any in the Whitehall. And past governments have not been any better.

      The Civil Service should be helping this process, in spite of Brexit! These responsibilities are not for the supplier to fullfil.

      • Nick Dekker permalink
        August 6, 2022 9:24 am

        You are spot on Robert.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        August 7, 2022 8:40 am

        Complete nonsense. You do realise there’s a whole subject called “economics” that studies this stuff, right? That has shown how such planning simply cannot be done successfully because no group of people can know enough – not even the superpowered Engineers that crop on here every now and again. And if you think private companies don’t have risk registers and project managers, with incentives to get it right, I despair.

        Why on Earth would civil servants – even if they were all Engineers – be better at forecasting demand than a private company whose profits and jobs depend on getting it right? And why would the notoriously unresponsive civil service be better at reacting to changes than a private company whose jobs and profits depend on doing that? And by splitting the market businesses can experiment and all businesses can learn what works and what doesn’t and faures canbe taken over. Whereas government?

      • Carnot permalink
        August 8, 2022 10:01 am

        Clearly you have not expereinced the solicalist 70’s which is where we would be heading if we let the government run anything. The NHS is a great example – a complete failure in terms of cost control, long queues, shoddy customer service and archaic working methods. The biggest user of fax machines in the WORLD. Just show me one arm of the government that excels, just one. The RAF should be called the Royal Air Farce. Same for the Army and Navy despite some able people. The Border Farce cannot protect our borders, the tax office is incompetent beyond belief, the DVLA is as socialist workers paradise. The environment agency a joke and British Snail is being re-incarnated to so the workers can serve themselves but not the public. As soon as politicians, and especially socialist politicians, start running the show then it becomes self serving, and to hell with customer service and cost control. There is nothing better than the cold blast of competition to keep prices in check and customers happy. Don’t start me on local goverment becuase most are run by incompetent thieves, stuffing their pensions pots with taxpayers money and expensing everything possible.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        August 8, 2022 3:14 pm

        And that’s on a good day!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 7, 2022 8:28 am

      But they haven’t done that. Your comment is absurd. Free marketers have been calling for an end to corporatism for a decade now and an end to government interference in markets. These are REGULATED industries. They are not left to themselves. What do you think the price cap is for example? The regulators all have climate change as their priority now and all have demand reduction as a target thanks to the CCC.

      Free markets? Not in any way.

  5. john cheshire permalink
    August 5, 2022 10:04 pm

    Agenda 2030 won’t go away until those who are promoting it are sent away. Away from any positions of power and influence.
    Then the Climate Change Act might stand a chance of being repealed. But I doubt it given the spineless, low grade people we are allowing to govern us.

    • dennisambler permalink
      August 7, 2022 5:38 pm

      You have it exactly.

  6. Thomas Carr permalink
    August 5, 2022 10:06 pm

    Alarmists is not the half of it. Catastrophists is nearer the truth. See the headline on the front page of today’s The Times. As you suggest the mindset is going to take some dismantling especially as so many un-named experts and scientists have invested so much capital in their point of view.
    Worst of all is the lazy mindset of so many MPs who never took the trouble to see the rabbit hole they were about to enter.
    For what it is worth Mike the best thing we can do is to encourage the the counter-view frequently and without hysteria leaving the hysterics to the well educated under employed road obstructors, glue applicators etc and their saint from Scandanavia

  7. John Brown permalink
    August 6, 2022 10:19 am

    Unfortunately these warnings from John Longworth and David Frost will not prevent the disaster that is Net Zero. I have been writing to my Conservative MP since the Net Zero Strategy was issued explaining with clear reasoning as to why a strategy based upon low energy density and intermittent wind together with the electrification of transport and heating cannot work. But I have been unable to change her mind and I guess that the climate change religion is so strong that she believes that we must accept a much reduced standard of living in order to save the planet, even though our contribution to CO2 emissions is negligible compared to China and India who are now burning 5.6 billion tons of coal each year. Since economic and social collapse is now acceptable to my MP I will have to tackle directly with her the CAGW fraud itself.

  8. deejaym permalink
    August 6, 2022 10:24 am

    All very well, David, but your party has been prioritising the green agenda for over 50 years…
    I see no sign of any you ?

    • Dave Gardner permalink
      August 6, 2022 1:20 pm

      I would say the UK Conservatives have prioritised the Green agenda for about 17 years, since 2005. The key event in 2005 was that they recruited Zac Goldsmith into the party. If you ever see Zac Goldsmith resign from the Conservative party, that will be the telltale sign that the Conservative party is seriously beginning to ditch the Green agenda.

      However I would agree that the UK Conservatives have been promoting Greenery for about 50 years. The modern Green movement, represented by NGOs like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, was formed as part of the ‘hippy movement’ at the end of the 1960s, and the response of the UK Conservative government under Ted Heath to this new movement was that they created a Ministry of the Environment in 1970 headed by Peter Walker, the world’s first Environment minister.

      • dennisambler permalink
        August 7, 2022 5:46 pm

        Gummer was at Kyoto in 97, with John Prescott. He and Goldsmith wrote the Conservative “Green Cr*p” Quality of Life document. Gummer has prospered mightily from the whole farrago over the years, Cameron appointed him to the CCC, his predecessor Adair Turner went to work for Soros New Economics Institute.

  9. Ian Wilson permalink
    August 6, 2022 11:07 am

    “The next Prime Minister can – and I’m sure will – get us back to it.”
    Some hope, I suspect. I have heard neither leadership candidate state they will either ditch net zero or resume fracking.
    There seems to be a suggestion that Anti-Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, he who has most enthusiastically blocked fracking and the Whitehaven coal mine, might become Chancellor – if there’s one prospect more depressing than a Truss premiership it’s the idea of Kwarteng in charge of fiscal policy.

  10. Jules permalink
    August 6, 2022 1:39 pm

    Frost is correct, rolling and unpredictable power cuts will focus minds very quickly. Policies that were unfit for purpose will be ditched quickly but the actual power solutions will take a few years to become available. Government collapse is possible.

  11. Broadlands permalink
    August 6, 2022 2:04 pm

    The green climate activists should realize and keep in mind that without fossil fuels for transportation there is no possibility of making the transition to renewables, solar, wind, nuclear and to electric transportation. The shortages and higher prices are already making an impact which can only get worse if their net-zero goals continue to be promoted. It’s all about transportation to do anything of significance in a modern world.

    • John Brown permalink
      August 6, 2022 2:41 pm

      The “green” climate activists know very well that transition to net zero CO2 is impossible using wind and electrification (they don’t want to use nuclear). Their goal is the collapse of our economy.

  12. Cheshire Red permalink
    August 6, 2022 10:33 pm

    Politicians jumped feet first into May’s disastrous 2050 Net Zero target to lock-in both NZ targets and the 2050 time ‘limit’.

    Just 3 years later it’s plain to see the self-same people who passed NZ 2050 into law **cannot hit their own targets.** They’ve also fatally undermined both UK energy supply and security.

    If we’re lucky we’re just going to get truly hideous energy costs. If we’re not lucky we’ll get rolling blackouts and rationing on top of ruinous bills. Deep joy.

    If those toxic consequences aren’t recognised by politicians as clear signals for an urgent NZ time and target reset then they can look forward to the non-payment campaign followed by riots instead.

    Make no mistake the country is a powder keg. An intransigent, bone-headed government class refusing to adapt to a problem entirely of their own making is as good a spark as ANTIFA (and a million ordinary people at the end of their tether) could wish for.

    They set targets they can’t hit so now they must change those targets. If politico’s don’t alter course there really will be riots.

    • dennisambler permalink
      August 7, 2022 5:49 pm

      I told my Conservative MP he and his colleagues are totally responsible for our current predicament, that green levies should be scrapped, coal phase-out kicked into the long grass, repeal the CC Act, dissolve the CC Committee. I haven’t heard back.

  13. Philip permalink
    August 7, 2022 1:37 am

    The UK needs leaders who can demonstrate basic competence. Fire the rest of the bastards and get rid of the bureaucrats, they have no competence.

  14. Julian Flood permalink
    August 7, 2022 8:46 am

    Net Zero is possible in the UK. Desirable?

    FIRST step: recognition that going straight for the perfect solution will crash the economy and will empower those who reject the climate change narrative.

    SECOND step: accept that fossil fuels will have to be used. The perfect interim fuel is methane. It is halfway to the hydrogen economy – the lovely H4 in the CH4 formula is the clue. Natural gas can replace petrol, oil and diesel in every mode of transport except aviation

    BUILD : A halfway to hydrogen economy is possible in ten to fifteen years. By going all out for fracked gas we will be poised for the final clean energy push by 2040. By then the SMR nukes will be replacing all other baseload, so we can then look at running down natural gas use.

    THEN ENGAGE BRAIN: By then it will be obvious that we have a low carbon economy with clean baseload and enough spare energy to indulge in fripperies like electric vehicles, rebuilding our over-populated dirty towns, our health service…



    • catweazle666 permalink
      August 7, 2022 3:49 pm

      Ah yes, methane!
      A seriously overlooked resource is the practically unimaginable quantities of methane hydrate on the ocean floor and in permafrost.

      This is particularly interesting:
      At the same time, new technologies are being developed in Germany that may be useful for exploring and extracting the hydrates. The basic idea is very simple: the methane (CH4) is harvested from the hydrates by replacing it with CO2. Laboratory studies show that this is possible in theory because liquid carbon dioxide reacts spontaneously with methane hydrate. If this concept could become economically viable, it would be a win-win situation, because the gas exchange in the hydrates would be attractive both from a financial and a climate perspective.

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